Pelicans return home with seven-game win streak

pel-baezThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans held on for an 8-7 win to sweep the Wilmington Blue Rocks Sunday at Frawley Stadium, picking up their seventh consecutive win and completing a perfect 6-0 road trip.

The victory ties a Pelicans (77-55, 41-21) franchise record for wins in a month, with Sunday’s win pushing the Birds’ record to 21-4 in August.

With the Blue Rocks (49-82, 22-40) ahead 2-0 in the top of the third, Andrew Ely and Erick Castillo began the inning with singles to put runners at first and second. An error allowed Ely to score and make it 1-0. With runners on second and third, Donnie Dewees delivered a sacrifice fly to tie the game. After David Bote drew a walk, Yasiel Balaguert singled to score Burks and give the Pelicans a 3-2 advantage. Wilmington starter Foster Griffin (4-10) then unleashed a wild pitch, allowing Bote to score and make the tally 4-2 Myrtle Beach.

With the score the same in the top of the fifth, the Pelicans got singles from Balaguert, Ian Rice and Jeffrey Baez to load the bases with nobody out. Griffin then issued a wild pitch to score Balaguert to make it 5-2. Jesse Hodges followed with a single to plate Rice. Another Giffin wild pitch made it 7-2 before reliever Jacob Bodner pitched Wilmington out of further trouble.

With Bodner back out for the top of the sixth, Dewees doubled down the right field line before Rice drove him in on a single to open up an 8-2 Myrtle Beach lead.

Trailing by six, Elier Hernandez doubled to start the bottom of the sixth. After two more hits loaded the bases, Luis Villegas connected on a two-run single to pull Wilmington to within 8-4. Cody Jones followed with a single before Anderson Miller drove in Robert Pehl with a hit of his own to make it 8-5. With one out and the bases loaded, Brandon Downes flew out to left to score Villegas and pull the Blue Rocks to within two. Pelicans reliever Tommy Nance then struck out Mike Hill to avoid further damage.

After Nance worked a scoreless seventh, Villegas started the eighth with a hit before Carlos Diaz bunted him to second. After a wild pitch moved Villegas to third, Downes went to right with a sac fly to plate the run and make it 8-7.

Ryan McNeil allowed the first two Blue Rock to reach to begin the bottom of the ninth before Pehl bunted the runners to second and third with only one out. Villegas then rolled a grounder to first for the second out, with the runner at third electing to stay. McNeil then got Jones to end the game and earn his league-leading 21st save.

Daniel Lewis (5-0) worked three scoreless innings of relief to earn the win.

The Pelicans will enjoy an off day Monday before hosting the Lynchburg Hillcats in a three-game series beginning at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday. It is the final home series of the regular season for the Pelicans, who will begin the playoffs Sept. 7.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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